Reading Poetry

An introduction to poetry in English, chiefly British and American, from Shakespeare through Claudia Rankine. Organized by poetic forms (sonnets, sestinas, villanelles, blank verse, and free verse), this course will consider each form from some of its earliest examples in English to contemporary modifications in form and content. Doing so, we will consider how poets, over the centuries, have carried on wide-ranging conversations— aesthetic, historical, political—through the rhythms, images, and ideas of poetry. Emphasis in the course will be on cultivating your pleasure in the richness of poetry and learning how to articulate that pleasure with precision in essays and oral presentations.